Race Day Logistics FAQ with Coach K: Get Ready to Roll!

Race Day mornings can be a stressful affair. What do you need to pack the night before? How are you going to get to the start line? Will you eat your favorite Nutella-banana sandwich or stick with something else? And unless you’re one of our ultramarathoners, you’ll have to decide when to get up, too! Getting ready for race day can feel overwhelming—but fear not, Coach K is here with a race day logistics FAQ.

Written by Coach Karen Peterson
Edited by Pavlína Marek

Let’s keep it simple: here’s a compilation of some legit questions from the Instagram Lives I’ve been doing every two weeks. (Watch our socials to find out when the next one is.) I hope this rapid-fire FAQ will help you with your race day logistics planning!

1. How far is the hotel from the start line? (How long will it take me to get there?)

Where are you staying, and which race are you signed up for? Here are the locations for the three hotel partners and maps of the courses to get you where you need to go. Check this page out for start locations (subject to change). Then add at least a half-hour to the time you think it’ll take you to get to the start line and you know when to leave in the morning!

2. Can I take Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to the start?

Despite the rhyme, you cannot. BART doesn’t run early enough, but don’t fret; there are special San Francisco Marathon buses that run from several BART stations to get you there! Minimize your stress and get your ticket in advance.

3. How early should I be at the start line?

What corral are you in? That determines your start time! To figure out how to decipher your bib and see what time you start, check this page. It’s recommendable to be at the start line at least 30 minutes earlier than the first-corral start time. Although it may feel a little chilly waiting around for your start, give yourself plenty of time—savor the pre-race energy and get pumped!

4. What is going to be served at the aid stations? Will there be bananas? What kind of electrolyte mix?

There are plenty of stations to supply you with water, electrolytes, energy gels, medical services, and bathrooms along the course. There will be 16 water stops for the Full Marathon that will offer water and NUUN electrolyte drink. Two of them will also offer Chargel energy athletic gel drink. Three water stops are “Refill Stations;” be sure to carry a vessel if you are going to need water at these stops.

5. I want to run this year. Can I still register?

YES! Go here to sign up for any of our events!

6. I’ve missed several long runs. Should I still race?

Tough call. Please email me at coachkaren1964(AT)gmail.com. I need to know the specifics!

7. I’m from the flatlands and haven’t been training on hills. Will I be okay out there?

Welp. San Francisco is a city known for its hills. And it depends on your race and, and, and… Email me, mmmkay?

8. What should I do in SF while I’m there?

Oh wow, let Google handle this one for me! Sooo much to do and see. But please don’t pound the pavement in the days prior to your event. Try to not overdo it. AFTER the event, familiarize yourself with the wonderful eateries that the city has to offer, check out the museums, Golden Gate Park, Fishermen’s Wharf, etc…  The East Bay Regional Park District has some absolutely gorgeous trails for a bit of recovery hiking. If you have time to venture to Point Reyes National Seashore, do it. It is truly one of the most special places I’ve had the privilege to spend time in. If you are in the mood to be humbled by some of the largest life forms on the planet, check out the Redwoods at Muir Woods

While you’re in the midst of your race day logistics planning, elevate your stoke by adding some fun stuff to do in and around the amazing city of San Francisco! And as always, feel free to reach out to me at coachkaren1964(AT)gmail.com.

Happy running!

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